For the last four years I've worked closely with Best-Selling Author Jay Heinrichs. We've face-timed back and forth from his writing cabin in New Hampshire to my little cottage in Buckhurst Hill and it has been an absolute pleasure.
As a former Art-director for big brands I wanted to give everything I had for this book. It's my first book and features my illustrations, so I wanted to give it all I've got for the advertising side of things. Plus advertising for your own product is awesome!
The concept "The Book Your Cat Won't Want You To Read" fell naturally from the idea that cats aren't keen on humans learning all their secrets to win arguments, so it was a good excuse to have some fun and feature the cats being naughty & disruptive.
We had a two-pronged approach to the campaign, targeting both cat-lovers and education/persuasion enthusiasts. A mixture of live events, talks, tv and radio appearances from Jay focused on the book content and persuasion. On Social media we called out to cats, featuring fun, digital sponsored posts and the animation on YouTube.
People have asked me to talk about the animation, so I will :)
Firstly, when I started it I had no clue how to do it. I knew I wanted to test myself and create a short piece I was proud of, but at the same time I wondered If I could actually do it - so kept it a secret and didn't show anyone until it was done.
I knew only a little animation when I started, it was only self-taught dabbling which doesn't always amount to much, so to create the whole thing I frequently turned to YouTube tutorials for various tricky moments. It's so quick to watch, but with everything being hand-drawn and my lack of animation knowledge (plus my endless revisions - I was the worst client to myself!), it took around 600 (possibly more - I daren't work it out) hours. This was in between me working in my local pharmacy 9.5 hrs a day and doing the 12 exams for there too). I created many scenes I deleted, re-wrote it about 8 times, got stuck for weeks at times and one point, spent a weekend learning how to create an anamorphic street, before deciding it would be better as a 2d street built in a 3d space. Which I had to first learn how to do, and how to move the camera through it.
The whole thing is hand-drawn, with the addition of textures and fabrics. There's a few fun details in the animation that make me smile to myself. My cat has a penchant for ripping paper. He makes very light work of a shoebox, and is even more proficient with a discarded Ikea bag. This proved very useful to add touches of the cat's dislike of the book. Lots of the animation features paper ripped up by Charlie, my cat (who also features here and there in the book). I've also used designs created on my Cat_Dont_Care instagram - patterned wallpaper featuring little sleeping cats, and the pieces on the wall in the studio scene are drawings I originally created as prints - many featuring the instagrammer's cats themselves. Lots of the wooden floors and desktops are actually from the walls of Jay's writing cabin too, so we've really put ourselves into it!
The book focuses on persuasive techniques you can try out on everyone from your boss to your cat. Jay's work is studied in American Schools, as part of the curriculum is teaching children how to use the tools of rhetoric to argue and persuade, how to create situations where everybody feels like a winner.
This week, Jay Heinrichs was interviewed by Justin Webb on BBC Radio 4, BBC World News Business, Steve Wright on BBC Radio 2 and Sam Leith for The Spectator Podcast. Jay also talked about the principles of Persuasion at The Conde Nast School Of Fashion and ran a Speechwriter's Workshop.
So there are two markets for this book, persuasion and rhetoric enthusiasts, and cat-loving people. Jay will be speaking with the BBC this week, with pioneering schools, radio stations, business organisations and top educational publications. The animation? That one's for the cat-lovers. :)